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  #21  
Old 13.11.2012, 19:20
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Re: Since moving here

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My parents haven't been the most supportive and have gone as far as to call me a traitor to my country. I have not spoken to them since my Mother hung up the phone on me after yelling 20 mins. I am not calling her, or looking for sympathy just wondering if anyone had this issue with their families when they moved and how you handled the stress. And yes my Mother needs professional help it's a given.
Hi Kelly,

Sorry to hear this, it is not an easy start to your new life when this means so much criticism from your mother/parents. We didn't get much understanding either when we made the first move away to France with our little babydaugther from Denmark (where we come from). The situation didn't improve much when our next step took us as far south as to South Africa, where 'everyone' knew we would be shot right away on arrival...

Anyway, I think we all learned a great deal from this. Today I have a much better relationship with my parents than I actually did years back while still living in Denmark. We all learned something important and today we worship and respect each other and the choices we make.

It took some years for everyone back in DK before questions like "When are you coming home?" stopped, but actually my parents/family were the first ones to realise and accept that we were not coming 'home' as we like our living and feel at home where we are.

Not knowing you, your family or your back ground I do not wish to simplify your situatioon, but maybe you shouldn't take your parents reaction right now too seriously or as something permanent. This is a big step for you and a huge change - and so it may be to them too.

They may feel they have lost you for good considering your earlier difficulties before leaving the US. In situations like this hurtful and unfair words easily slip out of despair. They may not yet accept or fully understand the fact that you are no longer their little girl, but a grown up with your own life to live. That does not mean this is the end to love or close relationship between you, but you are an adult now and they need to respect your right to make your own descisions and to respect where these descisions might take you.

Despite that parents should understand that there comes a time to let go of their children and a time to respect their adult choices and way of living, it is just not always a peaceful process. Today I see more mildly on my parents reaction back then. They could see others grown up 'children' settle down nearby the parents, whereas I left the country to go with my husband taking their (at that time) only grandchild with me.

I now see their pain and deep feeling of loss, but back then I felt annoyed and frustrated. I didn't see their sorrow, I felt they didn't respected or trusted our descisions nor found them well thought through.

I fully understand you are upset and angry with your parents now. Sometimes words come out so badly and hurtful when what we actually feel can be hard to express. I am not saying your mother isn't out of line, I am just saying she may feel desperate and may not understand at this point that she needs to let you go and that you got the right to live your own life.

If I were you I would be happy I have had the courage to follow my love, move abroad and far away. I would try not to worry too much about my parents but be patient, calm and try and forgive the hard words between you. Give them as much time and space as needed for them to accept your choice. Don't give in, but give all of you space and time to fully understand this is the situation now - and be open to your parents once they come to you.

Hopefully they will soon realise that this is not the end of the world and that you are not doing this against them or US, but because this is your life and you got a right to live it, try out possibilities and be with your little own family

All the best and once again I do not mean to downplay your situation.

We have been there too, it was rough at times, but now we are through...and we didn't even get shot in South Africa. A true happy ending!

Welcome to Switzerland and your new life abroad
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Old 13.11.2012, 19:31
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Re: Since moving here

My Mother in Law hung up on my wife in tears when my wife told her we were moving. No traitor stuff but she was extremely upset we were moving with the only grandkid so far away.

It was all smoother over quickly and in the first 2 years here I think they saw each more than when we lived 6 hours drive away.

Tell your mom you still have a US passport and will still have the honor and privilege of filling US tax returns.
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Old 13.11.2012, 19:38
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Re: Since moving here

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My Mother in Law hung up on my wife in tears when my wife told her we were moving. No traitor stuff but she was extremely upset we were moving with the only grandkid so far away.

It was all smoother over quickly and in the first 2 years here I think they saw each more than when we lived 6 hours drive away.

Tell your mom you still have a US passport and will still have the honor and privilege of filling US tax returns.

Oh yes we do. I did say that but she became more irrationale so I stopped trying to convince her. Maybe after 5 years she will talk to us again. But frankly I am very angry with her. I think the anger is keeping me together right now. Thanks for all the ssport from the EF and advice.
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Old 13.11.2012, 21:32
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Re: Since moving here

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She went 5 years without speaking to her sister, I know she can do that to us. I feel more sorry for my daughter.
I really hope for the sake of your daughter she can come to her senses and be a proper grandma. I had both of mine when I was little and they both said they were so glad to play a part in my childhood.

Switzerland is a beautiful country, perhaps lots of e-mail stories of what a good time she's having along with lots of lovely photos might warm your Mother's heart.

Stay strong and enjoy your time here, everybody I've met so far has been lovely so I'm sure you'll find the support network you need until your family wake up and start doing what families are supposed to do.
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  #25  
Old 14.11.2012, 10:37
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Re: Since moving here

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I really hope for the sake of your daughter she can come to her senses and be a proper grandma...
This point has come up a couple of times (not picking on you Firebird).

My parents are always "busy" when we need some help or invite them over for a visit - with a 4 kids, it is easier if they come here. They come over from the UK maybe twice a year if we are lucky. My in-laws are willing to come over, usually, at the drop of a hat. Both are retired, and the age gap between the sets not that great.

To be honest, I do think it is sad, as my parents have less of a relationship with my children, but I don't lose any sleep over it - that is their lookout. Unless one is famous or has influence over many peoples, one of the few ways of creating any lasting impression is to be involved in the upbringing of your children, grandchildren, and if lucky, great grandchildren - you can influence - for better or worse - their outlook on life and what they might achieve.

As a grandparent, your window is limited. As an expat('s) grandparent, even more so. BUT that is their loss, not your daughter's!

To be bluntly honest, with a mother like yours, I would be hesitant to let her have any influence on my child - but I think you know that.

Good luck. Chin up, you'll be fine!
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Old 14.11.2012, 11:13
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Re: Since moving here

First of all: This is a thread that makes me sad. How can people be so oblivious to what really matters in life? However, there are practical and emotional issues for those left behind, as well.

Being in the reverse situation - my brother moved away to the US and got marrried there -, though, some thoughts from another perspective. I go to see them at least once a year, have been doing so for 12 years. They have come twice. I have to admit that a suburb in the US it is not my dream vacation destination - and it is expensive for me, too. With the distance (they live on the West coast), two days of the week of vacation that I take get lost in travel. I just wish it was different.

But it is not these practical issues that matter, the thing that makes me really sad is that I just cannot be a real part of the children's lives. I cannot drop in and take the girls to the movies or to the zoo, I will never be the aunt they turn to when they are sad or happy, because I am a special and deeply loved guest, but not part of their daily lives. I call them regularly, I send cards, letters, parcels, and when I am there, I do "hardcore aunting", but I always know that I will have to leave, and then they will live on and grow and be so much taller and older when I come back. And I feel so helpless.

It is a hurtful situation on both ends. Some people get sad, some people get mad. Maybe, some people just feel this helplessness, cannot cope with the situation and (wrongly) try to protect their feelings by pushing those away whom they love so dearly that seeing them part breaks their hearts.

But those miss out on what they can have.
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Old 14.11.2012, 11:55
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Re: Since moving here

Thankfully my family is pretty understanding about me living so far away. I come from a military background too, as do both of my parents. My grandfathers were both in the US Navy, my parents were both Marines, and I think part of why my mother is so (emotionally) supportive in many ways is because she lived outside of the US as a child and again as an adult herself.

I have gotten comments like the one you got from your mom though, but not from my family, it was from friends. Most of the time, it's easier to cut them out than it is to cut out family though.

On the other hand, there HAS been (unfortunately plenty) family drama since I came. Sis-in-law not talking to my two sisters, which of course means that my brother doesn't talk to them much either, and now though, there are some serious things going on so people should be talking, but they're not. It's taking me calling all of them from here to deliver the kick in the pants over the phone to try and get things worked out.


I'm sorry you're going through this, hopefully hopefully your family comes around, both mentally / emotionally as well as coming to visit sometime. Some of the families I've gotten to know here use SKYPE pretty heavily - maybe using it (with camera) so your family can see your daughter will help bridge the gaps some.
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Old 14.11.2012, 12:13
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Re: Since moving here

So sorry to hear of this extra sadness/stress that really isn't needed at this time, Kelly. Moving to another country is extremely difficult from the beginning and the support of loved ones is really needed. I had a similar experience with my mum when I moved to Mexico a few years ago. It was difficult but I tried my hardest to just remain positive so that whenever I contacted them (phone, email etc) it was always about the good things that I was experiencing and how much I was enjoying myself - lucky for me everything I was saying/writing was true so I wasn't lying in any way...I just didn't mention the fact that I did some times feel homesick. I didn't allow the negative comments she made to sink in, instead I acknowledged them to her verbally and then reverted the conversation to more 'meaningful' messages- what I'd been up to, what was the latest at home etc. After several months of me telling her of how much I loved it she started to soften and then my parents visited and actually saw that I was having a great time and that I was safe.
I know that my mum's negativity came from her worrying about my safety and also because of her stage in life, which is something that only she had to deal with and come to terms with.
Since Mexico I've lived in a few countries and for her now it's almost the 'norm' that I won't be returning home for some time.
Keep your chin up, try to make contact with as many people in Switzerland as you can because you need the support close to you (I'm taking my own advice as I write it by the way). There's many of us looking for the same support, me included.
I wish you the best of luck and hope that she will come round for you.
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Old 14.11.2012, 12:28
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Re: Since moving here

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So sorry to hear of this extra sadness/stress that really isn't needed at this time, Kelly. Moving to another country is extremely difficult from the beginning and the support of loved ones is really needed. I had a similar experience with my mum when I moved to Mexico a few years ago. It was difficult but I tried my hardest to just remain positive so that whenever I contacted them (phone, email etc) it was always about the good things that I was experiencing and how much I was enjoying myself - lucky for me everything I was saying/writing was true so I wasn't lying in any way...I just didn't mention the fact that I did some times feel homesick. I didn't allow the negative comments she made to sink in, instead I acknowledged them to her verbally and then reverted the conversation to more 'meaningful' messages- what I'd been up to, what was the latest at home etc. After several months of me telling her of how much I loved it she started to soften and then my parents visited and actually saw that I was having a great time and that I was safe.
I know that my mum's negativity came from her worrying about my safety and also because of her stage in life, which is something that only she had to deal with and come to terms with.
Since Mexico I've lived in a few countries and for her now it's almost the 'norm' that I won't be returning home for some time.
Keep your chin up, try to make contact with as many people in Switzerland as you can because you need the support close to you (I'm taking my own advice as I write it by the way). There's many of us looking for the same support, me included.
I wish you the best of luck and hope that she will come round for you.
I wish that was my situation. When I told her I like it here the more angry she becomes. Honestly I knew deep inside before we moved that this would happen. She has always been the "slap kiss" parent (being verbally abusive then as sweet as pie on the next hand) It is a sad situation and you are all right it IS her loss not ours. For the sake of my child I need to let her go and be miserable and focus on settling in here.
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Old 14.11.2012, 12:53
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Re: Since moving here

Welcome to Basel, Kellyd. You will find that this is nice place, and certainly you will enjoy it!

"to see the picture, you need to step out of the frame" - as the saying goes - and you will be able to understand yourself, your country and your family much better, when you are distant for a while.

While that is happening, note that your child will become truly multi-lingual, and citizen of the world, having friends from all over the planet (and so will you). This is a great gift you can give to your child such early in life, isn't it?
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Old 14.11.2012, 12:55
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Re: Since moving here

Sorry to hear that Kelly, as everyone says that makes the move even more difficult. Give them time however, I think more or less they are just (of course) attached to you and don't want to see you go. This is there way of trying to shame/guilt you into staying. Perhaps they don't know how to handle their hurt.

I was lucky enough that although my family was a military family once upon a time, they were very supportive. My mother, other than missing me, has always feared the return of the draft in the states.
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Old 14.11.2012, 13:20
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Re: Since moving here

I would calmly tell your Mom and your sister that you would like your kids to grow up with a grandmother and an aunt, and it would be a real pity if they gave up their roles as such for reasons that have nothing to do with them.

Maybe framing it this way will take some heat out and make them see it in another light, but I very much doubt it, sounds like they are on their own strange planet.

Good luck, Hope you get some people here- try to get rid of that anger somehow or it will eat you up.
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Old 14.11.2012, 13:33
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Re: Since moving here

Sorry to hear your story.
BTW - how does your father feels about it. Did you have the chance to discuss it with him?
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Old 14.11.2012, 13:36
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Re: Since moving here

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I would calmly tell your Mom and your sister that you would like your kids to grow up with a grandmother and an aunt, and it would be a real pity if they gave up their roles as such for reasons that have nothing to do with them.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to rationalize with people in that frame of mind. Either way, I hope they come around.
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Old 14.11.2012, 14:18
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Re: Since moving here

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My husband was notified that his position in the US was eliminated but was offered a new position within the company here in Basel. SO here we are all three of us (Our baby). My parents haven't been the most supportive and have gone as far as to call me a traitor to my country. I have not spoken to them since my Mother hung up the phone on me after yelling 20 mins. I am not calling her, or looking for sympathy just wondering if anyone had this issue with their families when they moved and how you handled the stress. And yes my Mother needs professional help it's a given.
I didnt read the other replies, but I am sure they go along the lines of...

I am very sorry for your husbands situation, and the lack of support you are getting from your family. At the end of the day, your mother doesn't care for your children/husband/you, you do.

The biggest stress with moving is just taking on a new culture, but, you will find that through places like this, you will learn of MANY opportunities to meet people, do things, and live a great life.

Really sorry again for the stress you feel, but don't let someone else s problems become yours. I am certain his work will cover as many expenses necessary for the move, temporary housing, settling in, etc.

Take this as an opportunity for change and embrace the experience... well, that is my thoughts at least
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Old 14.11.2012, 21:38
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Sorry to hear your story.
BTW - how does your father feels about it. Did you have the chance to discuss it with him?
He goes along with my Mother. He has his own opinion about it which is negative as well.
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Old 14.11.2012, 21:50
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Re: Since moving here

Wow your mum sounds like a military dictator! Does she know that there are places outside america and that spending time outside your home country makes you a better global citizen.

I guess based on your post that its not worth even trying this as a conversation topic.
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Old 14.11.2012, 22:38
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I'm so sorry that you're dealing with this. I think in the end, you just have to make your own life. We pick our friends, can't pick our families and sometimes have to leave them. There are lots of nice people in Basel. Also, the American Women's Club in Basel might be helpful if you want some US contact.

It's sad to be estranged from family, but if family is so negative, you're better off without them. It's not your problem, it's theirs, don't get sucked into the cesspool of guilt. And don't let your daughter get sucked in either. You've made your own life, be happy.

Who knows, maybe your mother will mellow with age or find the right combination of meds (sorry, i don't mean to insult).
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Old 14.11.2012, 23:30
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Re: Since moving here

Something similar happened to me. I was 39, my daughter 9, I was raising her alone, and I received absolutely no help from my parents.
I struggled to perform as a working mother and to organize my own life.
My mother called me one day that she is making a lunch for me, twinbrother and father (it was our birthday plus my father's "nameday"). So I HAVE TO be there on so and so day at so and so hour.
I told her I have got a program before this but I can be there an hour later.
Word after word, she started yelling me, we (daughter + me) were standing in a mall, in the end I had to tell her that she is yelling and giving orders to a middle aged woman.

We have not talked since that day.
To be honest, she really eased my life. Our family was not healthy, there was a lot of fights, abuse, addiction and anxiety. It was so hard to play the nice daughter. I was releived after that.
I still envy people who have the luxury of having a loving parent.
Luck or accident - 2 months later I met with my BF - he is coming from a similar family and he helped me a lot to overcome my issues.
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Old 15.11.2012, 11:24
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Re: Since moving here

Did your mother lived actually with her mother all her life? If not, with what right is asking you this? You don`t have to choose between your husband and your parents. This is really sick! Anyone who is mental healthy (specially the parents) should be happy if you are happy. Because you are NOT the property of your parents. The spiritual role of the children for a parent is his own spiritual fulfillment, but this doesn`t involve owning his life. As you said, is obviously your mother have some issues.
You have space, time and the spiritual capacity to offer love and attention to all the dear person of your life. Sometimes the time and the space can not be given in the same time. This is what your mother has to understand. The fact that you choose to live abroad (so you can not be physical near her) is not changing anyhow your feelings about her. So you can offer her the time. My advice is look back with forgiveness and to write her every day. Write her about what are you doing, about the baby, about the new life here, send her pictures, maybe short videos with your child etc. Like this, you will not offering her the chance to yell at you and make you feel frustrated and sad, but you will make your presence felt. Even if she will not answer at the beginning, she will see that you are thinking to them and the distance does not change the fact you are still her daughter and you CARE (because if you didn`t care this threat would not exist on this forum). I really think that your perseverance will make her at least wonder her self if her attitude is right. And from that point i think you really should suggest her an medical help.
Life is like this, you can not choose the family you get born, but you DO choose the family you are making as an adult. And now you have your own family, your husband and your child. This is your creation, they give you the sense of your life, is your own micro-universe. So concentrate on the positive things of your life and release any negative sentiment and thoughts about you mother, father and the rest of the persons who can not support you right now. This is their limit for the moment, so don`t let their problem to ruin YOUR life.
Good luck!
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